The Ministry of Health (MOH) has appointed an ElderShield Review Committee to study ways to enhance ElderShield. It said that this is to further strengthen social safety nets for Singapore ageing population
The Committee is given a schedule to complete the review and submit its recommendations to MOH by the end 2017.
The existing ElderShield scheme has been in place since 2002, and was last modifed in 2007.
MOH has provided the committee with the terms of reference for the ElderShield Review. They are as follow:
- To review the ElderShield design parameters and make recommendations on them, so as to ensure that ElderShield can provide adequate, affordable and sustainable old-age severe disability coverage for Singaporeans.
- To consider key issues and trade-offs involved in the review of the ElderShield parameters, such as the balance between benefit enhancements and premium levels.
- To engage with Singaporeans, key stakeholder groups and experts, and take into consideration their views in conducting the review.
Below is the composition of the committee.
- Mr Chaly Mah Chairman, Singapore Accountancy Commission; Chairman, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce
- Dr Yusuf Ali Assistant Professor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University
- Ms Chan Chia Lin Director, Holywell Pte Ltd
- Ms Diana Chia General Secretary, Healthcare Services Employees’ union
- Ms Choo Oi San Director and Head of Risk Consulting and Software, Willis Towers Watson, South East Asia
- Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir Director, Criminal Justice Division, Attorney-General’s Chambers
- Ms Fang Eu-Lin Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) Singapore
- Mr Koh Juay Meng President, RSVP Singapore (The Organisation of Senior Volunteers)
- Dr Thinesh Lee Krishnamoorthy Consultant, Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Singapore General Hospital (SGH)
- Dr Loh Yik Hin Chief Executive Officer, St Andrew’s Community Hospital
- Dr Ng Wai Chong Chief, Clinical Affairs, Tsao Foundation
- Mdm Rahayu Mohamad President, Singapore Muslim Women’s Association (PPIS)
- Mr Anthony Tan Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH)
- Mr James Tan Director, U Live, NTUC
Addressing the ElderShield Review Committee, Mr Mah said, “We are honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of reviewing ElderShield. We hope to recommend enhancements to the scheme for better protection for Singaporeans, while ensuring that the scheme remains affordable and sustainable over the long-run.”
Minister of State for Health, and Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat said, “We have enhanced MediShield to MediShield Life to provide universal and lifelong protection for all Singaporeans against large hospitalisation bills.”
“It is now timely to review how ElderShield can be enhanced to provide sufficient support and peace of mind for Singaporeans, while ensuring that the insurance scheme remains affordable and sustainable for the long-term,” he said.
“MOH will work closely with the ElderShield Review Committee to study possible ways to enhance the existing ElderShield scheme, including having lifelong payouts and strengthening the protection through risk-pooling and provision of government subsidies for low-income Singaporeans,” he closed.
Just this week, the UN human rights representative on elder care, Ms Kornfeld-Matte, commented that Singapore’s elder care is lacking, “While I understand that many of the new programmes and policies to address the challenges faced by older persons will need more time to bear fruit, ‘the reality on the ground’ indicates that life remains a struggle for many old Singaporeans,” she warned.
In its rebuttal to the news released by UN, the Singapore government commented, “She (Ms Kornfeld-Matte) took positive note that the Singapore Government was planning for the long term, had put in place the Action Plan for Successful Ageing, and that the extensive public consultations conducted by the Government had ensured that the Action Plan remained relevant and enjoyed the ownership of all stakeholders, particularly older Singaporeans. She welcomed the Government’s approach in working with non-profit and voluntary welfare organisations, community partners, and trained volunteers to translate policies into action within the community.”
However, the government noted Ms Kornfeld-Matte’s emphasis on the need for the Government to further strengthen protection and support for vulnerable seniors.
Chong Ning Qian, AWARE’s research executive who was there at the press conference wrote that Ms Kornfeld-Matte had suggested utilising non-contributive schemes was also made for improving the CPF system, such that even those who do not contribute would still receive a pension. This would provide better support for low-income earners and non-working caregivers (such as stay-at-home parents).